Farmers and growers are being urged to tell the Government exactly how they will be affected by the HS2 rail link as the deadline for petitioning the Bill approaches.
Over the last few weeks farming unions have been supporting its members through its Legal Assistance Scheme in the preparation of their petitions against the HS2 Hybrid Bill, which need to be deposited in person by Friday May 23
NFU rural surveyor Louise Staples, who has represented NFU members throughout the process, said: “By petitioning the Bill, farmers will have the formal right for their views to be heard within Parliament by the HS2 select committee, which was set up in April this year.
“The select committee will consider all petitions and hear all individual circumstances as they do have the power to make changes to the Bill. This is why petitioning is extremely important. There is no substitute for the select committee hearing directly from individual farmers and growers about the impact HS2 will have on their farm businesses. It will create a stronger case for all farmers and growers and help to achieve better compensation and mitigation.
The NFU will also be depositing a petition on behalf of its farmer members who will be impacted by HS2, highlighting key overarching issues that affect rural businesses and communities.
This includes: the compulsory purchase code which we feel is too complex and has limited ability in practice to put the claimants back into the position they would have been in if it were not for the scheme; temporary possession of land; the amount of productive land that is to be taken out of primary agricultural production; where land severance is prolific, HS2 Ltd must ensure that landowners and farmers have good access to all their land through accommodation works; and tax issues that will arise due to the compulsory purchase of land for HS2 should be exempt. HS2 and the Treasury must acknowledge the exceptional circumstances in which members affected by HS2 will be affected.Land grabbing is 'ruining businesses'
Farm groups called on MPs to properly consider the effects of HS2 land grabbing which they say is 'devastating businesses' along the route.
The Country Land and Business Association's message came ahead of a key vote after the second reading of the Hybrid Bill.
CLA President Henry Robinson said: “HS2 Ltd has demonstrated a total lack of interest in the plight of landowners and businesses. Many along the route are still waiting to see if their businesses will survive.
“A huge amount of land is being compulsory purchased purely for environmental mitigation, yet HS2 Ltd has given an inadequate explanation of how this will ever be delivered.
“Had landowners been consulted, more natural locations could have been found. This would be far more environmentally beneficial than taking often the most productive agricultural land next to the railway line and attempting to create good habitats in inappropriate locations.”